Long-Term Review

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport: Long-Term Wrap-Up

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author photo by Doug DeMuro October 2014

Our time with the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is coming to an end. We're giving back our Santa Fe Sport long-term test car, which has faithfully served us for a little over a year. What did we think of our time with the recently redesigned midsize crossover? We've summed up a few of our thoughts below.

Practical and Comfortable

After only a short time with the Santa Fe Sport, we quickly realized that the crossover offers one especially important strength: practicality. It's bigger than such rivals as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, which makes it perfect for shoppers who need to haul around the occasional larger item, but who don't want to upgrade to a midsize or full-size SUV.

We were also highly impressed by the level of comfort in the Santa Fe Sport. Whenever new staffers spent even just a few minutes behind the wheel, they always commented on the SUV's high-end interior, its comfortable seats and its smooth, relaxed ride. More than a few people noted that they felt the Santa Fe Sport was a lot nicer inside than its $25,500 base price suggested.

Fun, Not Frugal

The Santa Fe Sport is offered with two available engines: a 190-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and a 264-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. Our team -- being car enthusiasts -- was eager to try out the more powerful engine, which propels the Santa Fe Sport to 60 miles per hour from a standing stop in a sports-car-quick 6.7 seconds.

We enjoyed this engine, but we probably wouldn't get it on our own Santa Fe. The reason: fuel economy. While the standard engine returns a respectable 21 miles per gallon in the city and 29 mpg on the highway (as rated by the Environmental Protection Agency), the 2.0T cuts things down to 20 mpg city/27 mpg hwy -- and the output gets even worse if you drive like we do. We really do think, however, that the base-level engine is more than acceptable for most drivers, especially those concerned with gas mileage.

Needs More Toys

The biggest gripe that we had with our long-term Santa Fe Sport related to the options of our particular test car. Specifically, we felt like we were missing a few important items that would have enriched our experience, including, most notably, a larger center touchscreen.

Indeed, the Santa Fe Sport comes standard with a 4.3-inch touchscreen, which -- especially in today's world of infotainment technology and tablet computers -- just seems a little too small. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the screen contains a lot of information, which makes it seem a little busy. In the end, this one was our fault, so we suggest that you avoid our mistake by upgrading to the Santa Fe's more upscale, easier-to-read 8-in touchscreen.

A Great Choice

In the end, we enjoyed our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, and we strongly recommend it to shoppers who don't need the added size of an SUV with a third-row seat. Of course, Hyundai offers that, too, in the form of the larger Santa Fe. For drivers who want a smaller SUV with reasonable pricing, a smooth ride, an upscale interior, and available powertrains that range from frugal to muscular, the Santa Fe Sport is an excellent pick.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport: Long-Term Wrap-Up - Autotrader